The falafel is crunchy, crumbly, as green as a Granny Smith and fresh. The only thing is – it’s not technically falafel, it’s taameyya – Egyptian falafel. Cairo Takeaway’s owner, Hesham El Masry, has modelled this restaurant-takeaway shop on the feel and flavours of Cairo’s street stalls.
Outside there are cane tables and leather stools, and inside, a counter of fresh ingredients, a drinks fridge with Arabic iterations of popular soft drinks and a qidra (a tagine-like earthenware pot, pronounced “edra”).
Along with the falafels, which come wrapped in a pita pocket with greens, tahini and pickles, there are rolls stuffed with charcoal-roasted lamb, garlic chicken or bronzed cauliflower. And plates of dips, meat and salad. For those looking to try something different, opt for Egypt’s national dish, koshari. The base is rice and lentils with thin wheat noodles, chickpeas, spiced salsa and crispy fried onions on top.
For breakfast on the weekend, Cairo Takeaway swaps beers (from neighbours Young Henrys and Wayward Brewing Co) and grilled meats for karkadé (hibiscus tea), baked eggs with Egyptian sausage, slow-cooked fava beans and pasterma (a Middle-Eastern air-dried beef) rolls. To keep the recipes as authentic to Cairo as possible, El Masry employs the best Egyptian chefs he knows, his mum and her friends.